You can’t put anything over on the cops in Western Australia. They heard about the Norway massacre. They read that Breivik shot at a local gun range (gasp). So using unassailable logic and their years of crime fighting experience, they came up with a foolproof strategy to make sure nothing like that happens on their watch. They’re going to harass gun owners at the 231 registered gun clubs throughout WA…
WA Police will conduct random audits at gun clubs and shooting ranges across WA to catch unlicensed firearm owners. The move comes after the recent Norway massacre in which a lone madman killed 77 people, shooting 69 in cold blood.
Of course, the effort may have other goals besides finding the next Breivik or Loughner. The shootings in Norway may be just a pretext for ass-covering and fee collection.
“Auditing of clubs and their members will ensure compliance and identify those persons who may be in breach, and as a consequence may be open to prosecution or the revocation of their licence,” a spokeswoman for Police Minister Rob Johnson said.
In March, The Sunday Times revealed that WA Police had lost track of thousands of guns and the firearms licensing system was in disarray.
Police admitted that the firearms infringement registry, which alerts police to unpaid gun licence renewals, had been deactivated in mid-2008 because of technical issues.
The admission came 18 months after a review by Auditor-General Colin Murphy found WA Police did not adequately monitor the possession, use and dealing of firearms in the community.
And as you can imagine, the ‘audits’ aren’t making range owners happy.
Canning Gun Club president Peter Watson, 66, said the random audits were unnecessary. “If you ask me, it’s a waste of bloody resources because we are self-regulated,” he said. “We don’t allow anyone on the range without the proper registration and checks.”
As Breivik made clear in his creepy manifesto, he’d acquired his weapons legally. So similar sweeps in Norway would have failed to find him, let alone prevent the massacre. Until the Western Australian police develop their own precogs, nothing they’re doing is likely to identify the next potential wacko. If they really want to save lives, maybe they’ll consider more liberal gun ownership an carry rights in down under. Wait. Never mind.